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After Island Loses Its Only Hospital, Grenada Scrambles for an Alternative

After Island Loses Its Only Hospital, Grenada Scrambles for an Alternative

Officials in Grenada were scrambling on Wednesday to set up a field hospital after Hurricane Beryl ravaged nearly all the buildings on the nation’s island of Carriacou, including its lone hospital.

Carriacou’s hospital, Princess Royal, which has 40 beds and was recently retrofitted to withstand severe weather events, was flooded and 75 percent of its roof had been blown away by Beryl, officials said. “This rendered the facility basically unusable,” Dr. Shawn Charles, the Grenada health ministry’s chief medical officer, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Two deaths have been confirmed on Carriacou, which Beryl struck on Monday as a Category 4 hurricane. But with the island still without power, officials said the extent of potential casualties was difficult to assess. Officials said three patients had been taken off the island.

Officials plan to set up a field hospital that the United States donated two years ago to help Grenada deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters. Dr. Charles said officials were “working on the logistics of preparing the field hospital for setup.”

Princess Royal was recently upgraded to make it more resistant to damage from storms and other disasters. Dr. Charles said he could not recall how severe a storm the retrofitted facility had been designed to withstand.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has described the destruction on Carriacou and another Grenada island, Petite Martinique, as “unimaginable” and “total.” On Wednesday, he said Grenada would seek to suspend payments on several of its loan agreements, citing the “catastrophic” storm.

Orlando Mayorquín contributed reporting.

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